Affliction has brought a breath of fresh air to the MMA community. Since its inagurual event in 2008, it has provided a sound promotional alternative to the ever dominant UFC.
While the UFC is the face of MMA, fans may like to see a new flavor of MMA from time to time. Affliction provides that option.
Under the Affliction umbrella reside some great fighters who are highly recognizable in the sport. With names like Sobral, Barnett, Horodecki, and of course, Emeliananko, the brand seems to have a strong foothold on product quality.
One thing that can be said is that other the the young Horodecki, many of the more recognizable fighters are veterans of the sport. Not to insinuate that any is past their prime, but sadly, they are not getting any younger.
Affliction has that name recognition, and the fans know they carry many talented fighters. On the other hand, one has to wonder how, when time marches on, will they continue to produce high profile fighters.
One would have to imagine continually absorbing fighters who have vacated the UFC is not going to work forever. With the inclusion of fighters like Babalu, Tim Sylvia, and Andre Arlovksi, it has worked so far. Still, Affliction must separate itself in its own right from the UFC and its fighters.
That being said, they may learn a thing or two from the practices of the UFC.
This means cultivating up-and-coming fighters who have both the talent and potential star power to help Affliction stand on its own. This is not to say they are not currently pursuing this angle—only to say there is a viable option just waiting to be picked up by a top shelf promotion.
That option is Bobby Lashley.
What the UFC has done so successfully with Brock Lesnar is not out of the realm of possibility for an alliance between Lashley and Affliction.
This has the potential to become the catalyst for Affliction—strengthening its presence and prolonging its tenure in this game. Lashley has that star power to attract cross-over fans from the world of professional wrestling.
This would open the door for Affliction to build its base around an individual who can both perform and reel in fans of various interest groups. Developing their brand around such a recognizable star would only further strengthen their formidable line up.
Ironically, Affliction put on its first promotion not long removed from Lashleys first MMA bout less than a year ago. They are coming up on their third event, and Lashley has three fights—all victories—under his belt.
Lashely is going about his MMA career in a very professional manner. While the immediate icon Brock Lesnar was issued a free pass to the front of the line in the UFC, Lashley is starting small and working his way up. He is developing both his fight game and his record—as it really should be done by any fighter.
His name alone could justify any promotion attempting to bring him on board, but his approach and respect for his development in the sport speaks volumes to anyone looking on.
He is young in the sport, and therefore, he is not someone who would warrant a ton of contract money. Even still, if he were to come to Affliction his money would grow as he helped the brand grow.
This writer feels this could be a match of two up-and-coming entities in the sport of MMA that could really gain steam. These two could provide the support they both need to take their game to the next level.
The potential for a symbiotic success of both Affliction and Lashley is there. Now, only time will tell when and where Lashley will wind up with one of the big boys of the MMA business.
It makes sense that Affliction should throw its hat in the ring, if not commence a full-court press.